Business

Rick Scott: Double Quick-Training Incentives to Grow Jobs

By: Jim Turner | Posted: November 27, 2012 10:00 AM

Bi-Lo Winn Dixie
Florida may double the pot of money set aside to offer companies incentives to add jobs.

Gov. Rick Scott will announce Tuesday afternoon -- as he tours Jacksonville-based grocer Bi-Lo’s Winn-Dixie headquarters -- the pool of money available in the Quick Response Training Program, which supports business expansion efforts, should be increased to around $12 million.

“My goal is to double the funding,” Scott said while appearing on WOKV 690 AM in Jacksonville.

“The bottom line is, we won’t send the money unless we get more jobs and get a great return for you, the taxpayer.”

In the past fiscal year, the state Department of Economic Opportunity awarded $5.9 million that reportedly created nearly 4,000 jobs.

Scott couldn’t offer a number of jobs that could be created with the additional funding.

In March, Bi-Lo Holding was awarded up to $6.6 million in state and local incentives to locate the merged company’s headquarters to Winn-Dixie’s home in Jacksonville.

Of that, $1.04 million came from Florida’s Quick Response Training program, the other $3.6 million was from the Quick Action Closing Fund to offset the costs of relocation expenses and equipment purchases.

To get most of the money initially granted, Bi-Lo Holding was given a decade to create 100 jobs as well as make a capital investment of $93 million that is expected to go into upgrading the company’s Jacksonville distribution center and headquarters.

Bi-Lo, then based in Greenville, S.C., purchased the fiscally troubled Winn-Dixie chain for $560 million in December 2011.  

The deal came five years after Winn-Dixie emerged from bankruptcy -- Bi-Lo completed its own financial restructuring in May 2010 -- and created a company with about 63,000 employees. More than 1,000 were based in the Jacksonville headquarters at the time of the merger.

The merger combined 207 Bi-Lo supermarkets in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee with the 480 grocery stories in the Winn-Dixie chain throughout the Southeast. The company agreed to keep the better-known Winn-Dixie brand on the marquee.

Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 215-9889.



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